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NAB 2015 Impressions: Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera

NAB 2015 Impressions: Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design introduced a pair of cameras at NAB this year aptly named the Micro Cinema Camera.  While both cameras share the same form factor and name, they vary in features and intended use so much that it’s difficult to discuss them both at the same time.  Both the “Standard” and “Studio” versions of the Micro Cinema Camera share a Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) lens mount and a rugged magnesium camera housing that’s hardly larger then the lens mount.  The MFT mount is is a good choice, because it’s easy adaptable to Canon EF, Nikon F, or even PL mount with off the shelf mount adapters. The Standard model seems to be geared toward usage on drones or in tight spaces like an A-pillar mount in a car.  It’s also well suited for external suction cup mounting on vehicles with 1/4-20 mount points on the top and bottom of camera.  The Micro Cinema Camera Standard supports 12-bit log Cinema DNG RAW or ProRes (LT/Standard/HQ) recording 1080P at up to 60fps to SD cards.  At 60fps the camera uses a rolling shutter, however, all framerates 30fps or slower utilize a global shutter to prevent the dreaded “Jello Shot” that is all too common among action cams.  The global shutter will go a long way to produce top quality footage in high vibration environments such as car rigs and drones.  There is an HDMI port for monitoring and the camera is powered by industry standard Canon E6 batteries.  Perhaps the coolest thing Blackmagic thought of was this industry-first method of remote controlling your camera on a drone.  They added a clunky 15-pin connector that looks rather familiar…that’s because it’s the same VGA cable you would use to connect a computer monitor.  But this is no monitor port, instead its a custom control interface meant to connect to Futaba 18 channel S.Bus controller (or other compatible controllers) which will allow you to map camera controls to your Futaba RC controller.  Things like iris, exposure, roll/stop, and even focus on certain lenses can be mapped to the switches knobs and buttons on your controller.  The Standard model is priced around $1000 and will ship in July. The Studio 4K model is a different animal altogether.  The  SD card bay goes away on this model and an HD-SDI port is added.  There is not an internal recording option available, instead it has 6G HD-SDI port that can output 4K at up to 30fps or 1080P HD at up to 60fps.  The camera can be remote controlled via an ATEM switcher using CCU protocols.  Additionally, a B4 mount broadcast lens can be powered and controlled from the camera.  The Studio model...

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NAB 2015 Impressions: Phantom Flex 4K Camera

NAB 2015 Impressions: Phantom Flex 4K Camera

Well, the Vision Research Flex 4K isn’t exactly a new development, they announced it during NAB 2014.  Last year’s release gave us a camera system capable of up to 1000fps at 4K and 2000fps at 2k resolution which recorded to either 32GB or 64GB of internal buffer memory.  With three HD-SDI outputs, you have the ability to configure two ports as a dual link 4K output for an external recorder while retaining one port at 4:4:4 1080P for an on-board monitor or EVF.  Speaking of EVFs, an all new Phantom OLED HD Viewfinder was also introduced on this release. The new features announced this year are certainly NAB-worthy.  Most importantly is Flex 4K now offers ProRes 422 HQ to internal recording media.  This is a great alternative to the post-intensive Phantom RAW workflow. The Flex 4K has had a memory upgrade as well.  You can now get up to 128GB on buffer RAM which will give you 10 seconds of 1000fps 4K high-speed video.  Doubling the input recording buffer definitely opens up some possibilities for recording some high-speed magic.  Finally, sync-sound audio support has been added to the camera.  While not a huge deal that this style of camera had poor or no audio support, it does make the Flex 4K a more capable general purpose camera.   Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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NAB 2015 Impressions: RED WEAPON Camera

NAB 2015 Impressions: RED WEAPON Camera

RED announced the newest addition to their cinema camera line at NAB.  The WEAPON will be released in two flavors.  The “Magnesium” version will start shipping this summer with the same 6K Dragon sensor in the present Epic model and the “Carbon Fiber” version which will have a newly designed 8K sensor.  Initial Carbon Fiber models will ship with a 6K sensor with an 8K sensor upgrade expected to be released by the end of the year. The engineers at RED have made numerous improvements both in functionality and ergonomics.  Dedicated ports in the mount for both the 7in touchscreen and the EVF allow either unit to be mounted to the camera without additional cabling. All the connectivity ports have been (thankfully) moved to a vertical port bank that rakes away from the camera at a gentle angle.  This is a huge improvement over the Epic’s horizontal port bank near the camera baseplate.  The Epic’s design made it extremely difficult to access those ports when the camera was fully rigged.  A new set of controls has been added to the right side of the camera making it easier for ACs to manage camera functions and settings and a start/stop button has been added to the top handle.   We’re also thankful to hear that the WEAPON will now be able to record 2K ProRes (up to 120fps) while recording full resolution R3D RAW simultaneously to internal media.  This is huge!  You can use the ProRes files as editorial proxies or creative dailies and will prove to be a big time saver on-location and a blessing for DITs.  If ProRes isn’t what you need, the new REDCINE-X software has a dedicated (and simplified) transcoding section specifically designed for the location media manager. Now if we could just get RED to stop naming their products like “BOMB” and “WEAPON”…or anything else we wouldn’t want to see on a customs manifest. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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NAB 2015 Impressions: ARRI S60/S30 Skypanel LED

NAB 2015 Impressions: ARRI S60/S30 Skypanel LED

The ARRI S60 and S30 Skypanel lighting system. This LED based product has the same sort of hue and saturation tuning that made their L7C LED Fresnel popular. And you get ARRI’s legendary brand of functionality, versatility, and durability to boot. A variety of front panel inserts allow you to shape the beam to suit the needs of your environment.  Both the larger S60 Skypanel and the smaller S30 can be powered by a block battery, making it an excellent soft light source for the mobile shooter. Additionally, the Skypanels are fully DMX controllable. We expect ARRI to give Kino Flo and LitePanels a run for their money with this product! Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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NAB 2015 Impressions: Sony PMW-PZ1 4K XAVC Player

NAB 2015 Impressions: Sony PMW-PZ1 4K XAVC Player

  When Sony released their F5 and F55 camera systems, they rolled out yet another video codec in the form of XAVC.  While the XAVC codec sports excellent quality and compression characteristics surpassing their legacy XDCAM format, it still has a major weakness.  You can’t easily watch the footage.  Either the Sony Content Browser or an editing suite such as Abode Premiere must be used.  And 4K footage wont even play in the Content Browser unless you have a high horsepower computer. Enter the Sony PZ1 multiformat SxS XAVC player.  The PZ1 will playback XAVC video strait from an SxS card that was shot on an F55 or playback XACV-Intra video from an external hard drive shot on an FS7.  This unit supports the entire new generation of Sony cameras. This versatile device can be integrated into a media management workflow by allowing you to review footage and backup SxS media via a USB attached hard drive and integrated monitor. Or treat it like a deck with RS-232 control in post production and capture 4K media to the edit suite of choice via 3G/HD-SDI ports. The PZ1 is an excellent step towards making Sony’s relatively new XAVC format more professionally friendly to use! Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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